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Inheriting a Vanguard account
When a loved one passes away, your loss is coupled with the reality of the financial decisions you'll need to make. If you're inheriting a Vanguard account, our experienced associates can help you through this difficult time.
The account registration may determine how the assets will pass upon the owner's death. For example, a joint account with rights of survivorship passes automatically to the surviving owners. It's important to retitle the account in their names.
Some accounts may initially be retitled in the name of the estate. In this case, the account will list the name of the estate with the executor named as the authorized party to act on the account.
Property going to an estate will be distributed to the estate's beneficiaries after the estate executor pays expenses and applicable taxes.
We strongly suggest that you consult a qualified tax professional or attorney to help determine what’s best for you.
You may need a date-of-death valuation report to assist you or your accountant for tax purposes. You have to be authorized to act on the account and have the proper legal documentation to request this report from us.
To file an income tax return, you may need information about the cost basis of any account being transferred to an estate or beneficiary. There are different cost-basis options depending on the account type. Please call to speak with an associate for details. You may also find our cost basis accounting service helpful.
Liquidate an account If you plan to liquidate accounts you're inheriting, keep these points in mind:
First, you have to transfer the account to your name and register it under your Social Security number.
You then have several options for liquidation. We can explain them to you.
Note that liquidating accounts may involve taxes because you're selling shares, so you should consult a tax advisor to learn the details.
Finding an investment partner you can trust
Your loved one chose Vanguard for a reason—to help make the most of the assets you're inheriting.
Our way of serving investors is different.
We look at the long term.
We treat you like an owner because of our unique client-owned structure. We're owned by the funds, which are owned by our clients.
We manage our funds at cost—you only pay what it costs us to run the funds.
When you're ready to make financial plans for the future, we hope you'll make us your trusted partner as your loved one did.